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Tesla's claims for Wirless Power Transmission.

  1. Jun 12, 2010 #1
    How legit is the claim? I believe it as Tesla was unimaginably coolest inventor ever been on earth. Just imagine he is though to be responsible for 1908 Tunguska Event, though it is a rubbish theory but such a man, blamed for an explosion equal to the power 1000 times of the bomb that was dropped on hiroshima and 50 years before it was invented, can't be normal.
    I realize that he was equally lunatic, talking to piegons, signals from mars. But he also made fluorescent lamps, AC, Radio, robotics(Telautomatics). He was a man far ahead of his time.

    How right is it saying he did transmitted power wirelessly. I certainly though lack any reliable source stating it's true.
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  3. Jun 12, 2010 #2


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    Googling around shows the claim has been much-repeated, but without much if any additional detail to lend credence. Given Tesla's long history of outrageous claims, I wouldn't believe it until I saw some evidence.
    Transferring power that far would require quite a large transmitter and receiver You'd expect a picture or something would exist.

    If I may go off on a bit of a rant, I find the cult of Tesla somewhat annoying. While he did make some important contributions, his fans tend to dramatically exaggerate them (often taking his own claims at face value). I guess part of the reason is that simply makes a good story (if you ignore many facts) he was indeed a bit of a crackpot, which fits nicely into the 'mad scientist' narrative. You have the whole "War of Currents" narrative, AC vs DC, Westinghouse vs GE, Tesla vs Edison. You have the poor unrecognized Tesla versus the rich and famous Edison, etc. I don't think anyone's ever been as famous for supposedly not being famous as Tesla is!

    The reality doesn't make for quite as exciting a story. Tesla was fairly well-known, even in his lifetime. He had a rich backer (Westinghouse). There's a US-centric aspect in that the "War of the Currents" was largely an American affair, at a time when the USA was not yet the center of the science/engineering world. Tesla didn't invent AC. Many of his inventions had already been invented or patented in Europe, or were independently invented around the same time. The world's first long-distance AC transmission system was built in Germany (1891), by AEG, without Tesla. Westinghouse built the first commercial AC system in the USA at Niagara, Adams in 1895, but it seems often forgotten that they did buy technology from Siemens. Also overlooked is the fact that a commercial AC system was taken into use in Sweden* in 1893 (before Adams) by Wenström/ASEA (now ABB), using his designs. Most notably it was a 3-phase system, unlike Tesla's 2-phase. (and it's 3-phase we use today for generation/distribution). People will probably be debating until the end of time who-did-what-first. But in any case, Tesla was by no means alone.

    Tesla was big on claims, but when you look to the ones he ended up delivering on, they're mostly things that were also independently developed by others in roughly the same time period. Now either you can hold the view that Tesla was the greatest inventor ever, and that Marconi, Dolivo-Dobrovolsky, Wenström, Steinmetz, Edison et al were ripping him off. Or you can conclude that the inventions he's best known for were not quite the singular achievements they're often made out to be.

    (*Fun fact: In an odd twist of fate from the "War of the Currents" perspective, Wenström's original AC transmission line is still used by his company - for testing HVDC transmissions!)
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2010
  4. Jun 30, 2010 #3


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    There's a pretty interesting article on wireless power, and includes some history on Tesla, in IEEE Spectrum's May 2010 issue. Here is a link to the online version of the article.

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/mass-transit/a-critical-look-at-wireless-power [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Jul 1, 2010 #4
    I'm currently building a series of Tesla coils to see what they can do.

    There are certainly some interesting/puzzling things about the nature of the discharge and it's true that you can transfer quite a lot of power over a short distance without as much loss as you would expect.

    I suspect Tesla got carried away by a little success in the Lab and started making wild claims.

    Still - I'm having great fun with it.

    Here's a youtube I just did - don't know if this will work never tried before

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  6. Jul 2, 2010 #5
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  7. Jul 8, 2010 #6
    Not so much a paper - more of an advertising brochure.

    Sounds like he's selling snake-oil.
  8. Jul 8, 2010 #7


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    I would characterize it as more of a news article than an advertising brochure, but the same problem applies: it isn't a scientific paper as it doesn't describe the process in detail that enables people to duplicate it nor does it provide real test data or analysis.
  9. Jul 8, 2010 #8
    Imagine a huge parallel-plate capacitor with dry air (vacuum) as an insulator and its plates connected to a high frequency AC source (VLF radio frequency, but much higher than grid power frequency of 50/60 Hz, depending on continent).

    Place a toroidal coil with the torus axis perpendicular to the plates of the capacitor. Connect it to an amper meter. Is there any current flowing through the coil?

    Think about how the whole thing scales with linear dimensions/source freqency and voltage amplitude. Ultimately, what if one plate of the capacitor is the Earth's surface and the other the upper layers of the atmosphere (ionosphere) How would you make a conductive connection to the ionosphere?
  10. Jul 9, 2010 #9


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    intense, ultraviolet beam?
  11. Jul 9, 2010 #10
    Tesla was contemporary with Marconi and Heaviside. Hertz was only slightly older, as was Maxwell.

    They were struggling to understand EM waves and electrical discharges both.
    Tesla clearly had dreams of using 'something' he was a bit woolly about to induce a resonance in the space between Heaviside's new layer and the Earth and maybe use that to transmit power.
    He was also trying to drum up funds for himself.

    The Physics of his 'invention' are badly flawed - it's not something I think anyone would try to follow-up on today.
  12. Oct 18, 2010 #11
    Well let assume for a minute we were back at the turn of the 20th century now given what tesla was palying around with and his constant habit or fearless recklessness( research how many places and labs he has destroyed in his life time theres alot ) tesla was always going over board. Now that being said, he had already been working on wire less for a while and now much is know about his set up at the time but if what he had was set up in a focusing array ( like a satalite dish ) and he had the proper equiment ( it was very crude back then but much more solid ) he could given into an acount that there was a proper receiving anttena ( now i am going to sound crazy metal siding on a house ) it could work simliar like a cystal radio set. now there are a lot of factors and we know given his proven patent and creations he definetly had the capabillity to do such a thing even If he might have stumbled across it back accident ( i know scary )
    but once he got into wireles transmission he paved the way way and theorized alot of stuff we have today and that was almost 100 years ago
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